"Knight Time" is the second episode of the third season of Superman: The Animated Series, and the 43rd of the overall series. It depicts the first time Superman visits Gotham. After learning that Batman is missing, Superman goes to Gotham and disguises himself to be Batman in order to prevent crime from rising. In the end, he discovers that Batman's disappearance has something to do with an old nemesis of Superman's.
Roxy Rocket flies through Metropolis on her personal rocket, closely pursued by Superman. She dives under a tunnel, only to find Superman at the other end. She takes the risk of flying right at him, but he manages to snatch her off the rocket, which crashes harmlessly in the bay. Superman is amazed that even Roxy would be daring enough to make trouble in Metropolis, but she shrugs and informs him that Batman has gone missing and Gotham City is now overrun with crooks.
Out in Gotham, a couple of criminals rob a store of its jewelry on the belief that the police are too busy to come and Batman won't show. However, they failed to reckon with Robin. He easily foils the robbery, only to find the robbers had reinforcements, but before they can shoot him, Superman shows up and subdues the crooks. Superman then consults Robin about Batman's whereabouts. Robin explains that Batman claimed he'd be away on business but neither Batgirl nor Nightwing believed it. They traced the call and presumed Bruce has been abducted by "Ghul something" in Romania and followed the lead, leaving Robin to defend the whole city by himself. When the Bat-signal goes up, Robin claims that crime gets worse every time Batman doesn't show. Superman vows that Batman will this time.
Out on the roof of the Gotham Police Department, Commissioner Gordon and a police officer wait in vain for Batman. However, just as they give up, Batman and Robin appear. Gordon informs Batman that Bane has returned to Gotham and is now twice as strong as he used to be. Unknown to the Gotham Police, "Batman" is actually Superman in Batman's outfit and imitating his voice.
They go to Wayne Enterprises to investigate the messages sent by Bruce Wayne. The call claims that Bruce went on vacation but a previous call to Robin claimed that he would be at work. Robin traces the call to New Zealand, but neither he nor Superman believe the trace to be real. Superman investigates the papers in the room and discovers nanites crawling on their surface. Looking at the phone, he discovers a needle and realizes that Bruce is under some kind of mind control.
The three criminals intend to control Gotham City with Riddler acting as a jailer, the Mad Hatter as a puppeteer and Bane as an enforcer. However, "Batman" and Robin appear to foil their plans. Robin manages to knock down Riddler and cuff him to the cage. Bane engages "Batman" in a fierce battle, but he pummels him into submission with relative ease, stunning Bane greatly. After a short chase, they capture the Mad Hatter who is no match for Superman's speed.
At police headquarters, the Mad Hatter examines the nanites and surprises "Batman" and Robin by telling them that the robots are not his. In fact, the nanites are far more advanced that any Earth technology he's ever seen, suggesting they may even be extraterrestrial in origin.
Looking for more of a lead, Superman and Robin go to the Batcave to research what little they know. Since the alien origin of the nanites, it's difficult to tell what the aliens want Bruce for. He checks the message sent to Lucius Fox and hears rocket exhaust in the background, whereupon Robin realizes that Bruce must be at Wayne Aerospace, which is supposed to be abandoned.
The team heads to Wayne Aerospace and discovers there is in fact a group of technicians working on a new rocket that has Kryptonian features. Bruce comes onto the scene and tells his staff they can go home, and the staff members leave in confusion. After they have gone, Brainiac reveals himself as the mastermind behind Bruce's disappearance. He's about to kill Bruce on the basis that he's outlived his usefulness, but Superman intervenes and stops him. Brainiac is unconcerned, as he believes he is up against the mortal Batman, but soon finds out who he's really facing. Superman confronts Brainiac, but is unable to prevent him from launching his rocket. Still, Superman follows him into space, and though it seems Brainiac has gained the upper hand, Superman manages to destroy the rocket and his foe's new body.
Back on Earth, Bruce is returned to normal because the nanites in his body have begun to self-destruct harmlessly. Superman cautions him on checking his computer systems anyway, and leaves with a compliment towards Robin.
- Robin says that Batgirl and Nightwing are searching for Batman's trail in Romania to look for Ra's al Ghul.
- Superman (as Batman) alluded to Brainiac infecting LexCorp's computers in "Stolen Memories" and "Ghost in the Machine", and refers to Bruce Wayne's partnership with Lex Luthor in "World's Finest".
- Batman indirectly refers to this episode in the Justice League episode "Twilight" and the Static Shock episode "A League of Their Own".
Home video releases
- Superman: The Animated Series, Volume Three (DVD)
- Superman: The Complete Animated Series (DVD)
- Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2DVD, Blu-ray only)
- Superman Super-Villains: Brainiac (DVD)
- When Superman (as Batman) punches Bane for the first time, there's a full screen frame of a fire explosion, which is reused footage from "Where There's Smoke" when Volcana blasted Superman with a fire ball in the parking lot. This is used again later when Superman blows up the lasers of Brainiac's ship.
- When Bane hits the ground, unconscious, the dust he kicks up travels outward and under Superman's foot, rather than outward and over it.
- When the Mad Hatter examines the nanites, he is handcuffed to the table. But when he says they are of alien origin, the cuff on his wrist disappears.
- When Brainiac burns away the Batsuit Superman is wearing, Superman's bare chest can be seen. But when he steps out of the fire seconds later, he is shown to have been wearing his own costume (sans cape) underneath Batman's costume.
- This is the first time Superman comes to Gotham, just like Batman coming to Metropolis.
- Bane's quote that he wanted to feel Batman's "spine crumble in my hands" is a reference to the Batman comic story arc "Knightfall", which famously depicted Bane breaking Batman's back over his knee.
- This is the only time in the DCAU that Superman uses his ability to imitate any voice.
- This episode also continues the "tradition" of Bane appearing only once in any DCAU series he features in.
- When Superman (as Batman) lifts the statue, Robin "explains" it by saying that he has been "working out". Clark Kent does the same thing in Superman II.
- This episode marks the final appearances of the Riddler, Roxy Rocket, and Mad Hatter in the DCAU. Roddy McDowall (Mad Hatter's voice actor) died on October 3, 1998, one week before this episode aired.
- This episode shows how Superman's detective skills are arguably as good as Batman's.
- This is the second episode where Mad Hatter was suspected of using mind-control technology yet turned out to be innocent, the first being Make 'Em Laugh.
|Tim Daly|| Superman/Clark Kent|
Scientist #1 (uncredited)
|Kevin Conroy|| Batman/Bruce Wayne|
Superman (impersonating Batman) (uncredited)
|Mathew Valencia|| Robin/Tim Drake|
Superman (impersonating Robin) (uncredited)
Scientist #2 (uncredited)
|Roddy McDowall||The Mad Hatter|
|John Glover||The Riddler|
|Paul Williams||The Penguin|
|Charity James|| Roxy Rocket|
|Bob Hastings||Commissioner James Gordon|
Superman: You okay?
Robin: That was close.
Robin: So how'd you do Batman's voice?
Robin: See what I mean about him acting strange? He's smiling.
Bane: On the contrary, I feared you were gone forever, Batman, and that would have meant I'd never feel your spine crumble in my hands.
Mad Hatter: Curiouser and curiouser!
Superman: All this sneaking around isn't exactly my style.
Brainiac: I suspected that we might meet Batman.
Brainiac: Kal-El. This development was highly improbable.